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Seminar with Eastern European teachers in Berlin

At the invitation of the Memorial and Educational Site “House of the Wannsee Conference” and the Russian Research and Educational Holocaust Center, Elisabeth Schwabauer of the ITS Research and Education Branch, presented the International Tracing Service (ITS) and its pedagogical work. The event, which was attended by teachers from nine different regions of Russia as well as from Belarus, took place at the Memorial Site “House of the Wannsee Conference” in Berlin on 6th May 2014. The central topic was “The History of the Holocaust as a School Subject”.

In several workshops, the 15 teachers and lecturers had the opportunity to work with selected documents from the ITS archives relating to subjects like “Holocaust in Eastern Europe”, “Options for Action,” or  “Fates of Children,” in order to suggest didactic approaches within the examination of historical sources. “Over decades, the heroization of the military veterans has had much more significance in the Russian society than a sophisticated look at the victims,” Elisabeth Schwabauer stated. When it comes to dealing with the subject of the Holocaust, it is therefore still necessary to do pioneering work in Russia, even though the Russian Research and Educational Holocaust Center has already achieved a lot. Against this background, the guests emphasized the importance of the possibility to work with the ITS sources, in order to be able to impart knowledge and to arouse empathy as well as tolerance. According to the Head of the Educational Department at the “House of the Wannsee Conference”, Dr. Wolf Kaiser, the presentation of the pedagogical work of the ITS by Elisabeth Schwabauer was regarded very positively by the participants in the final written evaluation of the seminar.

The Berlin event ties in with the visit of teachers from the Russian Federation in Bad Arolsen in 2013. It was a further step in a cooperative project, which had been started in 2010 between the ITS and the Russian Research and Educational Holocaust Center under the direction of Prof. Dr. Ilya Altman as well as the “House of the Wannsee Conference.” For next year, the partners involved are now looking for budgetary ways to integrate a trip to the ITS once again in their program of events.